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Former Cohasset employee charged with stealing thousands from town to power cryptomine – WCVB Boston

The secret cryptomine operated for months without detection.
The secret cryptomine operated for months without detection.
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The secret cryptomine operated for months without detection.
A former Cohasset, Massachusetts, town employee is accused of running an operation to cash in on cryptocurrency by stealing electricity.
Officially, Nadeam Nahas worked for the town of Cohasset in the facilities department. But the Cohasset Police Department alleges he also secretly operated a cryptocurrency mine inside a crawlspace in Cohasset Middle/High School, stealing nearly $18,000 in electricity from the district to do so.
In December 2021, school staff called Cohasset police after finding multiple computers, wires, and ventilation equipment inside a crawlspace in the building that houses Cohasset Middle and High School. Police say the town’s IT director recognized the setup as a crypto mine, and town investigators enlisted the help of the Department of Homeland Security to remove the equipment and examine it.
After a three-month investigation, police say the mine ran for eight months, racking up $17,492 in electricity. They identified Assistant Facilities Director Nadeam Nahas as the man who set the mine up. He’s now facing charges of fraudulent use of electricity and vandalizing a school.
Babson College Professor of Information Technology Management Steve Gordon is a cryptocurrency expert. He is unaffiliated with this criminal case, but explained the process of crypto mining to 5 Investigates.
“Crypto mining is the way in which a network that supports a cryptocurrency is kept secure,” he said. “One of the reasons that they call it mining is that when a miner actually creates a new block, adds some transactions to the blockchain, they get rewarded with coins that are created out of thin air.”
High-powered computers must continually work to solve complex problems, aiming to validate connections and keep crypto transactions secure. When they are successful, miners are rewarded for their efforts with new coins, potentially netting thousands of dollars. Bitcoin miners, for example, currently get rewarded with 6.25 Bitcoins.
But the high-powered computers must run constantly, in turn consuming a large amount of energy.
“It’s estimated that the total amount of energy used in the Bitcoin blockchain would be enough to power a small country like Switzerland or something like that,” Gordon said.
In a place like Massachusetts, the cost of electricity eats into any potential profits from mining.
5 Investigates’ Karen Anderson asked Gordon if it makes sense to try crypto mining anywhere in New England.
“Not really,” Gordon answered. “Not unless you make an arrangement at some point in time with an energy provider to provide it very cheaply.”
Nahas resigned from his position with the town of Cohasset in March of 2022.
When reached by phone, Nahas declined to comment.
Nahas failed to appear in Quincy District Court on Thursday. A warrant has now been issued for his arrest.
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